Darren Hutchinson is a constitutional law professor to some and the associate dean for faculty development to all the at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Dean Hutchinson has published more than 20 articles in leading law journals and has been cited over 1,000 times.
Originally from Gainesville, Hutchinson has taken the winding road back to his hometown.
“Even though I love the Northeast, I never felt as at home as I do here,” he said.
Starting his circuitous route, Hutchinson received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.
After attending law school, he clerked for the late Honorable Mary Johnson Lowe, a former U.S. District judge in the Southern District of New York. Dean Hutchinson also practiced commercial litigation at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City.
“I knew I wanted to go into teaching at some point, and I met a lot of young law professors while I was living in New York,” Hutchinson said. “They gave me tips on getting into teaching and helped me prepare my applications.”
This led to him becoming an associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. This was followed by a long stretch as a professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
“I guess I could say the rest is history, but that would cover a lot of ground,” he said.
Dean Hutchinson moved to Gainesville four years ago.
“I wasn’t really looking for a new job, but then UF found me,” Hutchinson said. “Teaching at UF has been my most rewarding professional experience.”When he isn’t teaching or publishing law review articles about rights and society, Hutchinson could be penning his blog “Dissenting Justice,” caring for his two Black Labrador Retrievers, Buddy and Trina, or cooking a new dish.
“Dissenting Justice” is where the dean “[cuts] through the rhetoric” when it comes to legal and policy issues.
“Sometimes I read things related to law in online news sources, and I see so many inaccurate statements,” Hutchinson said. “‘Dissenting Justice’ allows me to provide instant analysis and correct media misportrayals of legal issues. The blog also allows me to share my professional expertise with general audiences.”
The dean was introduced to cooking at a young age and has continued to further his interest.
“My mother would always ask me out of her four sons to help her in the kitchen.” Hutchinson said. “Her usual rule was ‘No one is allowed in the kitchen,’ I guess she realized I maybe had some innate talent for cooking.”
Hutchinson is no stranger to hosting his own dinner parties. The secret to his “killer risotto” lies “in the constant stirring and having a rich stock.”
The dean encourages law students to stay current on reading assignments and to reconcile case brief notes with class notes to get a good understanding of the readings.
“Learn now how to manage professional stress while you are still in law school,” he said. “There is always going to be some stress about your work.”
He said that even at this stage of his career, law review projects can give him anxiety.
“A big part of the problem with stress is that people often do not want to ask for help when they need it,” Hutchinson said. “There is a common perception that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but that is just a harmful stereotype that makes people forego resources that can help them manage stress.”